WASHINGTON: The daughter of late SSG commando, Maj-Gen (retd) Amir Faisal Alavi, who is in the US, has sent a letter on her memories of her father. She writes: “I vaguely remember asking my dad when I was five, how old was your dad when he passed away, papa? I remember my dad’s surprised look and laughingly, he said, 61, why?, Ooo, I said, You have a long way to go. I was wrong, so wrong.You went much earlier, papa.
“Born a British national in Kenya, Alavi came to study at Abbottabad Public School, but later his love and zeal for the military prompted him to renounce his British nationality. He wrote to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, asking him to grant him Pakistani nationality so he could join the Army and that is exactly what happened, he got his wish. “My earliest memories are of my dad splendid in his uniform, no nonsense formidable soldier attitude and at the same time he was an easygoing person, very humble, compassionate, but very fearless. He just loved flirting with danger, it was almost as if he thrived on it. He had this amazing energy around him that’s hard to describe, just the word military would bring a sudden change in his behaviour, it would be hard to control his enthusiasm, the energy radiating from him, he drained life source from it.
“He had an amazing unending compassion for people and a heart so large I doubt it ever had walls. All you had to do was ask him and he would give it to you. He told me once, always look after the people below you because that is really what shows what kind of a person you are. He taught me not to judge people based on wealth, caste, their status, colour but judge them on their hearts. His magnanimity astounded me even at people who had hurt him badly. I never understood how he forgave people but he always said to me ‘Leave it to God’. “I still remember his enthusiasm while going on for a Wana operation and me as always complaining, ‘dad you are a general, honestly how many generals themselves go out in an operation?’ He said, ‘You fight from the top, the bottom will follow the top, and if I lead, my soldiers will follow.’
“I remember him putting a hand in his uniform and taking out a small medallion with Sura Yasin on it, saying what’s this?, while me and my sister continued to attach small medallions or Suras and prayers to his uniform. He would always say, ‘I am a soldier, I have no family. And that is what always scared me, my sister and mom to death.’ I remember whenever I was in distress or panic, he would gently admonish me, saying ‘Be brave, You are Faisal Alavi’s daughter, remember who you are,’ but I can be distressed now can’t I, papa, you are there no more, who do I turn to now? “I could write a whole book on my father but a part of me wants to keep those memories to myself because that’s all I have left of him. He is no more; all I have are his memories with me.
“I think it was unfair of fate to give me so little time with you, papa. You were my best friend, my saviour, my superman more than you were my dad and now you left me alone. Every time, I pick up my cell, my fingers automatically dial your number only to realise there is no papa anymore at the other end. “I think the way you went away was cruel, and the people who did it were cowards but knowing you, I can say that is certainly the way you would have wanted to go. I know your only regret is you did not have a weapon to shoot one or two, but papa, if you had one, those cowards would never have come near you. “I don’t think I ever told you this dad, even though it’s a bit late now, I just want you to know how very proud I am to be your daughter, papa. I was truly blessed to have a great soldier like you as a dad. I won’t cry I promise, because I am your daughter but how can I not be sad knowing I won’t hear you, meet you or hug you ever again. I will really miss you, papa, I did not only lose my father, I lost my best friend, my saviour, my superman.
“I promise you, papa I will fulfil every dream of yours. I will be strong, just don’t be mad at me for this moment of weakness, I lost you, let me have a moment of weakness, but I won’t go weak ever papa. I will take care of everything. I just want you to rest in peace papa, you worked a lot its time for you to rest. Amen.”
I LOVE YOU, PAPA
MEHVISH ZAHRA ALAVI